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The possible effects of multiculturalism on the United States history curriculum

1 November 1996


Today's society is in constant flux. From the media to the curriculum in the public schools, change is constant. Schools are leaders in the changes, and these changes are sparking a large amount of controversy. The subject of history has been at the forefront of the debate. In the past number of years there has been a movement towards the implementation of a multiculturalist approach in the teaching of history, especially the history of the United States. These curriculum alterations have varied from minor to drastic. As with any change, variations in the area of curriculum is significant. In the case of the revisions that took place in the state of Oregon, much controversy arose.

This paper examines both the controversy of the revisions in the U.S. history curriculum as well as the philosophies surrounding the teaching of this subject. The dynamics between the differing philosophies are vast. This paper attempts to examine the views in detail, and explores how various people prefer to teach the political subject of United States history. It classifies the two approaches broadly: one falls under the term "traditionalists" and the other under the term "multiculturalists." The former belongs to the group who, as a general rule, prefer to not change the way U.S. history is taught; the latter belongs to a group of divergent thinkers who believe that much change is needed in the teaching of the history of the United States.


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